Vice President Mike Pence once again made clear the priorities of the Trump administration by predicting that legal abortion would end in "our time." Pence made the remarks while at a luncheon hosted by the anti-abortion organisation Susan B. Anthony List & Life Institute on Wednesday.
“For all the progress since 1973,” Pence said, referring to the year of the Roe v. Wade decision, “I just know in my heart of hearts that this will be the generation that restores life in America.”
He added, "If all of us do all we can, we can once again, in our time, restore the sanctity of life to the centre of American law."
In the last year, the Trump administration has gone on the offence when it comes to curbing reproductive rights. One of the president's first actions was to reinstate the Global Gag Rule, which blocks international organisations that offer abortions from receiving federal funding. (The 1977 Hyde Amendment already blocks the use of federal funds to pay for abortions in the U.S. and abroad.) From there, it has just gone downhill: Trump has tried to defund Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, appointed anti-choice advocates to top posts at the Health and Human Services Department, supported a federal ban on abortion after 20 weeks of gestation, and so much more.
However, ending access to legal abortion is the Trump administration's ultimate goal, as Pence implied. Organisations like NARAL Pro-Choice America National pushed back against the vice president's remarks.
"The comments today made by Mike Pence, who lives and breathes an anti-choice agenda, are indicative of how much this Administration is trying to ‘normalise’ the idea of a world in which women don’t get to decide their own destinies or control their own bodies," Kaylie Hanson Long, communications director for NARAL, said in statement provided to Refinery29. "This is the future that Mike Pence envisioned today, and it’s a future that the majority of Americans reject. We look forward to when Mike Pence’s tenure in the White House ends, which will most certainly be ‘in our time.'"
Abortion rates have declined in recent years, thanks to factors such as easier access to birth control and comprehensive sex ed (two things the Trump administration has attacked.) But the procedure is still common: Research has shown that about one in four women will have an abortion by the age of 45.
Anti-choice politicians like Pence have already been chipping away at reproductive rights for years at the state and federal level. Therefore, depending on where you live, access to abortion care can look very different. But research has shown that abortion restrictions can hurt the health of women and children. Blocking access to abortion care also doesn't stop women from seeking the procedure — it just makes it unsafe.